Getting a Foot in the Door? Debating Unpaid Internships

This event is part of Precarious: Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Maureen Forrester Recital Hall Foyer, John Aird Centre
Wilfrid Laurier University
75 University Ave. West
Waterloo, ON

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Are you considering an internship? Have you ever been an intern? Are students increasingly expected to work for free to break into a career? What are the legalities of interning in Ontario? Is unpaid work more common in more glamorous industries? How are interns and their supporters fighting for fair compensation and meaningful experiences for interns?

Join us for a student-oriented panel discussion about the ins and outs of internships with former interns, intern rights’ advocates, and legal experts:

Andrew Langille, lawyer
Jainna Patel, former intern
Claire Seaborn, founder of the Canadian Intern Association
Agata Zieba, former intern and Laurier graduate

Arrive early! This panel is tied to Precarious: Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge, an exhibition at the Robert Langen Art Gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to the panel, 1:30-2:30pm, Condé and Beveridge will give a talk about the exhibition in relation to issues of work and social identity, precarious employment, and collective organizing. There will be an informal catered reception at 2:30 to 4:00pm.

Funding for this event is generously provided by the Council for the Intellectual and Cultural Development of the Arts at Wilfrid Laurier University.


Andrew Langille is a Toronto-based labour lawyer and an internationally recognized labour law scholar. His research for his LL.M. at Osgoode Hall Law School focused on the regulation of employment standards during the school-to-labour market transition. He has conducted much of the initial research on unpaid internships in Canada. He currently acts as the General Counsel for the Canadian Intern Association and advises other advocacy organizations focused on precarious work. His work has been utilized by a large number of organizations, including the Tax Court of Canada, the Law Commission of Ontario, and Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman.

Jainna Patel holds a Bachelor of Science in math and statistics from McMaster University in Hamilton. In 2012, she filed a federal labour complaint against Bell Mobility after spending five weeks as an unpaid intern in its Professional Management Program in Mississauga. Patel is a member of the Canadian Intern Association and is currently happily employed with ACNielsen Company of Canada in Markham.

Claire Seaborn is founder and president of the Canadian Intern Association and a third-year law student at the University of Ottawa. She had positive experiences as an unpaid intern at the Canadian Embassy in Washington and the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto, but is concerned about illegal and exploitative internships. Seaborn has appeared on national television (The Lang and O’Leary Exchange), radio (CBC Metro Morning, Cross Country Checkup with Rex Murphy), and in print media (The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, iPolitics, The Huffington Post) to discuss issues facing interns in Canada. Beginning in August, Claire will be articling in Toronto at Torkin Manes LLP.

Agata Zieba, MA, is currently a communications officer at West Park Foundation in Toronto. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University and received her Master of Arts in 2012 from the Department of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she completed a Major Research Paper titled Assessing Internships in Canada’s Magazine Industry. As a former intern at Weddingbells and Chatelaine magazines, her interest in the internship issue stems from her personal experiences.

Image credit
Shantala Robinson, from series published in Briarpatch (Nov./Dec, 2012).